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“Finding the Perfect Cottage to Film In” | Megan Park, My Old Ass

Two women, one younger and one older, sit on a log in the forest illuminated by a campfire.My Old Ass, courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Films are made of and from places: the locations they are filmed in, the settings they are meant to evoke, the geographies where they are imagined and worked on. What place tells its own story about your film, whether a particularly challenging location that required production ingenuity or a map reference that inspired you personally, politically or creatively?

When I was writing the movie, I remember saying, “I want Elliott’s home to feel like the type of cottage where you are always hearing a screen door slam in the background.” That was such a familiar and memorable sound from my childhoods spent on cottages in that area that I felt like just that sound perfectly captured what I hoped to find.

Which we did in our hero location, Elliott’s home, a century old, “traditional” Muskoka cottage on the shores of Lake Joseph. It evokes such a nostalgic feeling and perfectly sets the tone for our film. We had a really hard time finding the perfect cottage to film in because so much of the real estate in Muskoka now is people tearing down the older cottages and building super big mega mansions which obviously evokes a much different feel. This cottage had been perfectly resorted and is on such a stunning piece of the land and the lake, the views of the bay were so breathtaking, the second we pulled in, I knew it was the spot.

In fact, so many of our shots, from Elliott’s scene with her mom in the Muskoka chairs to the final Old Ass scene with Elliott, were taking advantage of the stunning vistas this property (which is called Sterling Point) had to offer naturally.

The interior was no different. The windows are all the old original big glass windows that are always open. Natural Muskoka granite rock featured throughout. The cottage and its owners have become close friends now and it’s become such a special place to my family as well. I hope to spend many summers visiting it as we did this last summer.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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